Statement of Public Interest

The process of developing legislation is a critically important component of wider public policymaking. Ensuring that legislation is accompanied by a clear statement of need, objective, options considered and their relative costs and benefits, stakeholders consulted, and implementation detail provides public assurance that the process has been conducted in a way that maximises public value.  

Our agenda builds on the previous work of the  Evidence Based Policy Research Project (EBPRP), an independent not-for-profit that advocated for evidence-based public policymaking. The EBPRP was instrumental in the NSW Legislative Council’s adoption of a Standing Order for all government bills to answer a Statement of Public Interest (SPI) questionnaire that addresses the need and evidence base for the Bill, including: 

  1. Need: Why is the policy needed based on factual evidence and stakeholder input? 
  1. Objectives: What is the policy’s objective couched in terms of the public interest? 
  1. Options: What alternative policies and mechanisms were considered in advance of the bill? 
  1. Analysis: What were the pros/cons and benefits/costs of each option considered? 
  1. Pathway: What are the timetable and steps for the policy’s rollout and who will administer it? 
  1. Consultation: Were the views of affected stakeholders sought and considered in making the policy? 

The Susan McKinnon Foundation is supporting greater public assurance of legislative policy by: 

  • seeking to improve the quality of Statement of Public Interest (SPI) in the NSW Legislative Council through the Shadow SPI Initiative 
  • seeking to optimise the status, quality and usefulness of the SPI in NSW by resourcing process improvements in the NSW public service to develop high-quality SPI that support informed debate and decision-making in Parliament 
  • advocating for comparable processes and tools to be adopted in other jurisdictions once the SPI has demonstrated benefit and impact in NSW